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Newly Issued DoD Software Modernization Strategy

The Department late last week issued its new “Department of Defense Software Modernization Strategy”. Highly encourage DoD life cycle logisticians and product support managers to take a few minutes…

Newly Issued DoD Software Modernization Strategy

Bill Kobren
The Department late last week issued its new “Department of Defense Software Modernization Strategy”. Highly encourage DoD life cycle logisticians and product support managers to take a few minutes to read through this new unclassified strategy document. As a longtime colleague often reminds me, “software is the ‘big dog in the yard’” and we as defense acquisition professional need to be cognizant and remain engaged.

According to this new strategy, “now is the time to be bold. Early innovators within the Department have mounted ambitious challenges to what were once conventional expectations for DoD software delivery. The DoD Software Modernization Strategy spearheads their legacy, identifying a vision, along with goals and objectives, with the purpose of delivering better software faster. The strategy targets the following outcomes:
  • Shift secure software delivery left through modern infrastructure and platforms. The strategy recognizes the importance of technology in evolving how the Department delivers software. It emphasizes the importance of commercial partnerships through the adoption of cloud and establishes a new commitment toward a Department-wide approach for software factories.
  • Enable this shift through true process transformation and people development. The internal processes of the Department do not readily enable the software delivery pace required to compete. DoD must review and modernize requirements, budget, acquisition, and security processes to take advantage of new approaches and technologies, ensuring not only speed, but better quality and protection. This transformation must be coupled with a focus on people and their contribution to software modernization success.”

A few additional highlights include, “…the unifying principles of this strategy form the underlying basis of intent as the Department implements software modernization. These principles consider existing DoD strategies and maintain broader themes at the forefront, ensuring a holistic to include, but not be limited to, just a technical perspective.

  • Primacy of Security, Stability, and Quality at Speed - DoD must not allow the pendulum to move based strictly on the metrics of speed. Resilient software must be defined first by execution stability, quality, and dependable cyber-survivability. These attributes can be achieved at speed by aggressively adopting modern software development practices that effectively integrate performance and security throughout the software development lifecycle.
  • Cloud Smart/Data Smart - Cloud services and data are fundamental to software modernization. Software must smartly utilize cloud services and incorporate data best practices to ultimately deliver impactful capabilities. DoD must accelerate cloud adoption to enable software modernization and proactively manage data following the DoD Data Strategy.
  • Enterprise First - The Department's technical delivery is bound by fiscal realities that require an efficient and cost-effective portfolio. Enterprise capabilities are a critical part of the portfolio. Collaborative stewardship of enterprise capabilities facilitates adoption and allows DoD Components to maximize value under constrained resources.
  • No One Left Behind - Software modernization introduces improved capabilities and greater automation. This modernization must be driven by strong leadership, powered by technical talent, and leveraged by an upskilled workforce. As such, development, training, and recruiting of the Department's workforce are critical aspects of software modernization.
  • More Than Code - Software modernization is more than just code development. It includes the many policies, processes, and standards that take a concept from idea to reality. Considerations such as contracting and intellectual property rights, as well as transition from development to fielding are often overlooked and underappreciated. These policies, processes, and standards must not hinder, but empower the vision of this strategy.”